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Rescued from Otur forest, 4 wild cat kittens released back into jungle

During their stay at MLRC, the kittens were initially fed a diet that closely resembled their mother’s milk. As they grew older, they were gradually introduced to solid foods, preparing them for life in the wild.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 08:45 IST

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Mumbai: As many as four female jungle cat kittens, which were rescued from the Otur Forest Range, have been successfully rehabilitated and soft released into the jungle by Wildlife SOS in collaboration with the Maharashtra Forest Department.

The jungle cat (Felis chaus), also called reed cat and swamp cat, is a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East, the Caucasus, south and south-east Asia and southern China. It inhabits wetlands like swamps, and littoral and riparian areas with dense vegetation. Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, the jungle cat population has shown a declining trend.

The kittens, estimated to be around 6 to 7 days old at the time of their rescue, were found in Domewadi in Otur and admitted to the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center (MLRC) at Junnar in Pune district for immediate care and rehabilitation.

Despite concerted efforts by the forest department and Wildlife SOS to reunite the kittens with their mother, these attempts were unsuccessful. Consequently, the kittens were placed under the meticulous care of the MLRC team. 

The female jungle cat kitten

The female jungle cat kitten

Credit: Wildlife SOS/MFD

An enclosure, designed to closely mimic their natural habitat, was constructed near the jungle area within the centre. This environment provided the kittens with a safe yet authentic setting to grow and develop essential survival skills.

During their stay at MLRC, the kittens were initially fed a diet that closely resembled their mother’s milk. As they grew older, they were gradually introduced to solid foods, preparing them for life in the wild.

After approximately three months, the kittens were ready for the next phase of their rehabilitation. A small opening leading towards the jungle was created as part of a soft release protocol, allowing the kittens to explore and adapt to their natural habitat at their own pace.

Dr Avinash Visalkar, Veterinary Officer, Wildlife SOS, said, “The kittens have shown remarkable adaptability to their new environment. For the initial days following their release, Wildlife SOS has been providing supplemental food to ensure their sustenance as they adjust to the wild. The organisation will continue to monitor the kittens to ensure their successful transition to independence.”

Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said,  “Wildlife SOS is proud of this successful rehabilitation and release, which underscores the importance of dedicated wildlife conservation efforts. We extend our gratitude to the forest department staff and all those involved in this mission.”

Amit Bhise, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Junnar Division, said, “The prompt action by the forest department officials and Wildlife SOS is commendable. Their combined efforts have given these jungle cat kittens a second chance at life in the wild.”

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Published 28 June 2024, 08:45 IST

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